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Using information and communication technologies to enhance citizen engagement in the policy process

in Promise and Problems of E-Democracy: Challenges of Online Citizen Engagement

New OECD publication

Today, all OECD member countries recognize new information and communication technologies (ICTs) to be powerful tools for enhancing citizen engagement in public policy-making. The unprecedented degree of interactivity offered by new ICTs has the potential to expand the scope, breadth and depth of government consultations with citizens and other key stakeholders during policy-making. At the same time, such new tools pose significant challenges to governments in terms of their technical, political and constitutional implications. Among the questions raised are: How can government ensure an equal hearing and 'assured listening' to so many individual voices? How can online consultations be designed to bridge the digital divide and ensure the inclusion of traditionally marginalized groups? How will such inputs be integrated into the policy-making cycle? How can guarantees for personal data protection be ensured?

This book highlights policy lessons in using ICTs to provide information, opportunities for consultation and public participation in policy-making. It includes numerous examples of current practice from 12 OECD member countries (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovak Republic, Sweden, UK) as well as the European Commission. It does not deal with online service delivery nor with ICT applications to elections (e.g. e-voting) although some of the issues discussed here, such as providing information online, may be relevant for both. Finally, the book suggests 10 guiding principles for successful online consultation and identifies five key challenges for online citizen engagement in policy-making.

42 2004 01 1 P 1, 31-Jan-2004, 135 pages, ISBN 92-64-01948-0, $28.00

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